Dr. Jason Martin’s Powerful Abortion Rights Ad
In this episode, our hosts talk with Tennessee gubernatorial candidate Dr. Jason Martin, who was compelled to run for governor after seeing firsthand the mismanagement of medical issues that became politicized, like abortion and COVID-19. Then, we get an update on the Equal Rights Amendment from attorney Linda Coberly.
All episodes begin and end with the 2017 single “Rise” by rock group Betty (www.hellobetty.com)
All episodes are produced by Amy Yoder (www.alyoder.com)
Additional support provided by Cary and Logan at Broussard Global.
The Hosts Start by Sharing What They’re Pissed About
Carol uses her time to send prayers and wishes for the best possible outcomes for those affected by Hurricane Ian. Donate to the Red Cross here.
Sherrye is pissed that Trump is openly embracing and amplifying QAnon conspiracy theories as the midterms inch ever closer.
Betty is pissed that some states, like Arizona, have conflicting laws about abortion. This causes huge confusion within the state, and it makes reproductive self-determination a plaything for politicians.
Gloria is pissed and deeply concerned about the lack of general knowledge regarding the way our government works. When people don’t know how the system works, they can’t make the best choices or informed choices.
A Physician on the Ballot
It’s rare for doctors to run, but Dr. Jason Martin, an ICU physician, decided to run after seeing so much suffering that feels could have been prevented by better leadership. He treated patients working two and three jobs that still couldn’t afford health care and some who elected to die rather than seek treatment that would bankrupt their families. That happened
Dr. Martin saw 400 of his patients die in an 18-bed ICU unit, and they could have been saved with an ounce of truth telling.
The Trigger Law is a Tragedy
In Tennessee, it bans all abortions with no exception. The current governor of Tennessee is lying about the strictness of this trigger law, which means he either doesn’t know what he signed or he’s being intentionally deceptive. Either way, Dr. Martin doesn’t think that Bill Lee is qualified to be governor.
With this law, doctors could face felony charges for attempting to help a patient who, for example, seeks treatment for an ectopic pregnancy. In this law, that was passed in 2019 and went into effect 30 days after the Dobbs decision, there are no exceptions for the health of the mother or for children who are the victim of sexual violence.
Polls show that Tennesseans aren’t happy with this new state of affairs. Over 70% of women in the state of Tennessee find the trigger law to be an overreach, and Dr. Martin is trying to galvanize those people from both political parties who believe the heavy hand of the government shouldn’t be involved in decisions made between birthing parents and their doctors.
Why Dr. Martin is Uniquely Positioned to Help the Volunteer State
So many issues facing Tennesseans right now are health care related, and that’s why Dr. Martin feels its his responsibility to health.
- #1 in the nation for medical bankruptcies per capita
- #1 in the nation for hospital closures per capita
- 11th highest in infant mortality
Also, ⅓ of counties don’t have an OBGYN on call at night.
Dr. Martin says the state could cut the number of uninsured Tennesseans by half simply by expanding Medicaid, like many other states have done.
All of this causes both health impacts for individual citizens but has larger economic impacts, as well. When the hospitals leave, when the access to health care leaves, when the populus in an area becomes too sick to work, then other jobs leave, as well.
Doctors Need to Find Their Voices
Gloria reads a quote from the American Medical Association about how “the fight is far from over,” which is a strong stance on how doctors can continue to provide care appropriately.
Dr. Martin discusses how physician groups have to balance political pressures, but it’s time to do more, say more, and take up for these communities.
See more about Dr. Martin here: https://martinfortn.com/
An Update on the ERA with Linda Coberly, chair of the ERA Coalition Legal Task Force
Linda gives a quick recap on the ERA:
- The ERA was originally proposed in Congress in the 1920s on the heels of the 19th Amendment
- It took 50 years before there was sufficient political support in Congress, and it then went out to the states for ratification with a time limit included
- Opposition became stronger throughout the 1970s
- The time limit and one extension passed without enough states ratifying the ERA
- In 2017, some states showed their support once again, and with Virginia ratifying in the ERA in 2020, the amendment had the requisite number of states to be entered into the Constitution
The big question is, what about that time limit?
A time limit for ratification by the states is not included in the Constitution as a requirement for amendments. However, as Carolyn Maloney talked about as our first guest, the time limit was put on by Congress in order to make it harder to amend the Constitution.
The path forward for the ERA could look like:
- Congress passing another resolution that would take the time limit away. The House of Representatives has voted twice to remove it, but the Senate has not made a move.
- Challenging the time limit in the courts, which we’re already seeing. Virginia, Illinois, and Nevada (the last three ratifying states) are suing to force the Archivist to publish the ERA.
How would this make a difference?
Do the parties who are litigating have legal standing? This is one question in the case. Since groups are arguing that the Amendment has passed, is there legal standing to force the Archivist to publish it?
Without it being in a published code somewhere, it would be harder to cite the ERA when people’s rights are being violated. So having the amendment in the Constitution makes a difference.
The ERA and Reproductive Rights
Equal rights for women must include whether and when to have children, and proponents of the ERA are now addressing reproductive rights more than they ever have in the past.
According to the Dobbs decision, the Supreme Court currently would uphold that pregnancy discrimination is not discrimination of the basis of sex, and is thus not protected under the 14th Amendment. See the Godoldeg case.
When the 14th Amendment passed, there were dissenting opinions. Now we see that the majority of the Supreme Court today holds that same view as the dissenters. So while the ERA wouldn’t have changed the current Dobbs decision, arguments could be made to further courts down the line that pregnancy discrimination is discrimination on the basis of sex.
Additionally, Clause 2 of the ERA gives Congress an additional source of power to legislate in service of the rights of all people from discrimination on the basis of sex.
Would a New Archivist Make a Difference?
With the current Archivist retiring, there is much talk about who would take up that particular mantle. Colleen Shogun, one of the nominees, has said she won’t just publish the ERA, and that it’s up to Congress and the courts to decide if the ERA should be published.
Linda talks about how the Archivist is a difficult job to navigate, regardless of who is in that particular hot seat. What the current court case is attempting to do is to create a legal basis which will require that the Archivist publish the ERA into the Constitution.
Additionally, Linda thinks that Congress needs to take up the vote to strengthen and codify their legal support for the ERA.
As a father, doctor, and business owner, Jason Martin has dedicated his life to improving the lives and livelihoods of everyday Tennesseans.
Dr. Jason Martin was raised in Southern Alabama in a place much like many of our small communities in Tennessee. He was a latch key kid and his parents and step-parents worked hard every single day. While they labored hard to provide for Jason, his many aunts, uncles, and grandparents helped to raise him.
Dr. Martin believes we should be working for Tennesseans where they are most vulnerable. When Metro Nashville tried to close Nashville’s public hospital, he stood up and fought to keep Nashville General. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed and exacerbated the inequities in our state and incompetence of Tennessee’s leadership. Dr. Martin was the lead physician calling for accountability from Governor Bill Lee.
Linda Coberly is a partner with Winston & Strawn LLP in Chicago and chairs its Appellate & Critical Motions Practice. She has argued nearly 60 appeals spanning eight different federal circuits, as well as state appellate and supreme courts across the country. She provides advice on strategic legal issues at all stages of litigation, informed by her time as a clerk for Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the D.C. Circuit and Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court. She serves as a board member and Chair of the Legal Task Force of the national ERA Coalition and speaks and writes widely about the Equal Rights Amendment.